Hambantota - the new hub of development
March 12, 2007 - 09.30 GMT]
The primary objective of the Hambantota Port Development Project and
other infrastructure developments earmarked for the area was to make
Hambantota a hub of economic development in the country, said Dr. Sarath
Amunugama, Minister of Investment Promotion, at a media briefing
following the signing of the agreement between the Sri Lanka Ports
Authority and the Chinese Consortium for the development of the
Hambantota Port, today.
The primary objective of the Hambantota Port Development was to
synchronize the different aspect of development such as shipping,
building, bunkering, the handling of large scale fuel products,
increased bunkering, and catering to increased exports and imports, for
which the Port
of Colombo did not have space and facilities.
Minister Amunugama, said the overall development at Hambantota involved
the development of the new Hambantota Port, the new oil refinery, the
international convention centre, the new international airport at
Weerawila, the extension of the Southern Railway Line and the
construction of the Southern Expressway.
The ability to launch the Hambantota Port Development Project was a
direct result of the recent very successful visit by President Mahinda
China, at which many agreements had been entered on cooperation on the
Economy, Technology Exchange and Cultural Activities.
A key aspect of the new economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and China
was the agreement by China to fund the Hambantota Port Development and
related development at a cost of US $ 450 million. There was an
additional agreement to fund the new oil refinery costing US $ 1
billion. A further benefit was
the agreement by China to fund Phase One of the Norochcholai Coal Power
Plant for 300MW of power costing US$ 455 million. China had agreed to
increase its earlier offer to fund the estimated cost of US $ 300m for
this project, which was an increase of nearly 50%. All these facilities
were provided at very concessionary repayment arrangements.
Mr. Saliya Wickramasuriya, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)
describing the facilities that will be available at the new Hambantota
Port, said it would provide for trans-shipment of vehicles. This would
be most useful as India was now increasing its export of vehicles and
Hambantota would be a very good location for such trans-shipment
activities, and for increased container handling.
He sad the development of the new port will help in the economic uplift
of the Matara, Ratnapura and Moneragala Districts and part of the
The Deputy Chairman of the SLPA Mr. Priyath B Wickrama said the
construction of the new port when completed will directly provide 6000
new jobs and
50,000 to 100,000 jobs as indirect employment. A large number of these
openings were for skilled workers who were lacking in this area.
Therefore, steps were being taken to train people in the required skills
vocational training centres, so that the skilled workforce will be
available when the port begins functioning.
Dr. Hu, Chairman of the China Harbour Engineering Company, one of the
participants in the consortium to build the Hambantota Port, said CHEC
was one of the largest infrastructure development companies in China,
with special expertise in building of ports. Turnover last year was US$
15 billion, and it had a workforce of 17,000. CHEC had been active in
Sri Lanka for the past three years in highway construction.
He said although CHEC was a foreign company it was localized in Sri
Lanka as it had a very large number of Sri Lankan employees. It was
ready to contribute to the development of Sri Lanka, and give the
benefit of its
expertise to the Sri Lankan people.
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Date: March 12, 2007 - 09.30 GMT